Store Operations,

Will a pop-up shop benefit my business?

Sitoo Pop up

They’re exclusive, they’re trendy, they’re exciting and consumers fall head over heels for them…welcome to the wonderful world of pop-up stores, a trend that’s been gathering momentum for a number of years and taking global retail by storm.

It seems like every ambitious retailer out there is testing the waters with pop-up shops, so much so that, according to the American Marketing Association, retail pop-up shops are now a $50 billion industry and growing.

Pop-up stores are becoming an increasingly popular way for brands to grab consumers and hold their attention. They give retailers the chance to capitalize on what’s important to consumers at any particular moment as well as generating hype and buzz around their products.

But just because everyone is doing it, does it mean it’s right for you and will it benefit your business?

Before you hop aboard the pop-up band wagon, this article will help you see if pop-up stores are the right fit for you.

We’ll answer the following questions:

  • What is a pop-up shop?
  • What are the benefits of opening a pop-up?
  • How easy is it to open a pop-up shop?

What is a pop-up shop?

Pop-up shops are retail spaces that tend to only be open for a short time. They can help you generate brand awareness, evaluate the impact of selling in a new location or having a physical store for the first time, generate buzz around a new product launch, and even create immersive, interactive retail experiences. 

Because they’re often run on short-term leases, the risks of opening a pop-up store are far less than opening a traditional brick and mortar store. 

With the right processes, procedures and technology in place, opening a pop-up should be fast, flexible and fun!

What are the benefits of opening a pop-up?

When they’re done right, pop-ups can be a fantastic addition to your brand’s offering. Here’s why:

1. Pop-up stores can strengthen your brand

Pop-ups can expose you to new markets and customers with relatively little risk. They let customers get hands-on with your products and experience your brand, your ethos and your philosophy in the flesh. 

This is a two way street. Not only does it give your customers the chance to learn more about you, it gives you the chance to learn more about your customers. With direct, face-to-face interaction with your customers you can find out what they like, what they don’t like, how they feel and what they want to see more of.

Pop-Up Stores In Action

Didrikson, founded over 100 years ago, is one of the Nordic’s leading retailers with a reputation for making strong, sturdy, durable clothes. In 2019, they set themselves the aim of growing and strengthening their brand through launching a series of pop-up stores.

The idea behind the move was for the brand to stay relevant while being able to offer the right products, in the right store in the right location, at the right time. In order to do this they needed a POS that was simple to operate, easy to scale, and could easily be integrated with other systems.

Fredrik Kron, Retail Manager at Didrikson, explains: “We don’t open pop-up stores to make a great profit, we do it to strengthen our brand and drive traffic to the resellers. The biggest reason for us opening the pop-ups is to create a bigger interest in our brand. The goal was to set the right processes and procedures in order to be able to open a store within 2-3 weeks after a request from a shopping mall or property owner.” 

Read more here…

2. Pop-ups generate buzz and excitement

According to Statista, some of the main reasons customers flock to pop-ups in droves is because of the feelings of exclusivity and excitement they create. Pop-ups are mostly only open for a limited time and customers feel compelled to visit because the fear of missing out is all too real.

The feeling of exclusivity doesn’t stop there. Often, pop-ups are used to showcase collaborations between different brands.

For example, world-renowned Highsnobiety, who champion the best of culture and connect people through a love of style, has partnered with Zurich Airport to launch GATEZERO, a progressive and experimental, luxury concept store that reforms travel retail from the ground up.

For six months, GATEZERO is offering a curated assortment of over 15 international brands ranging from ready-to-wear, shoes, watches and jewelry to eyewear and beauty. The store includes a curated selection of products from brands including Acne Studios, Advisory Board Crystals, Ambush, Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta, Burgunder, Byredo, Comme des Garçons, Gucci, Hatton Labs, IWC, Jil Sander, LOEWE, MediCom Toy, On Running, Salomon,Sigg, Saint Laurent, and more. In addition, limited edition releases and Highsnobiety’s Private Label Collection will be available at GATEZERO.

This kind of collaboration is made much easier when it’s done through a pop-up store.

3. Pop-ups are perfect for scaling with the seasons

If you sell seasonal products – be it beach gear, winter warmers or anything in between – pop-ups are a perfect way for you to scale with the seasons. 

Let’s say you sell high-end beach wear with the majority of your sales coming through ecomm. It might not make financial sense for you to invest in a brick and mortar store that would be open all year. You’ll have fixed overheads to pay like rent, wages and taxes while your sales will likely be restricted to the summer months.

However, if you opened a pop-up in a prime beachfront location between May and August you’ll boost sales while keeping costs low and minimizing risk. 

If your seasonal pop-up becomes a regular fixture, it will add to the excitement and anticipation in your customers. Furthermore, seasonal pop-ups can help drive retention and turn your seasonal shopper into a lifelong customer.

4. Pop-ups are a fraction of the cost

Following on from the above, one of the biggest benefits of opening a pop-up is it costs far less than opening a permanent store. You can run it with less staff, lease periods are shorter and, when you use a modern, cloud-native POS, you can use standard hardware without investing in anything new.

There’s also big opportunities available right now as we come out of the pandemic. For example, rents in uber-chic areas like New York’s SoHo are at a record-low as landlords look to fill spaces that were left vacant by Covid-enforced closures. Pop-ups are a win-win. Landlords get to fill vacant storefronts while retailers can enjoy the low-risk, low-cost benefits of opening a temporary store.

5. Pop-ups connect to your other sales channels

With the right technology in place, like a Unified Commerce Platform, a pop-up store can be connected to your other stores and online sales channels in real-time. This will dramatically improve your cross-channel fulfillment offering – in the same way as a traditional store.

Following on from one of the previous examples, let’s say you have a pop-up store in an airport. If a customer wants to purchase an item but the size they want isn’t in stock, with the right technology, you can still complete the sale by fulfilling it from a warehouse or another store.

This means you still get the sale and the customer gets what they want. Everyone wins.

How easy is it to open a pop-up shop?

The simple answer to this question is – very easy! But it comes with a caveat. You need to get everything right first.

By this, we mean you need to find the right location, define the purpose of your pop-up and have the right processes, systems and tech in place to make launching it a breeze.

As Fredrik Kron, Retail Manager at Didrikson, says having the right processes and procedures in place are crucial for pop-up stores to be a success.

“If you have the ambition to open pop-up stores you need to create processes and procedures, which is surprisingly easy to do,” he says. 

“Many people think it’s too much work for a store that will only be open for a short time but – after the first opening and when you have everything from the technology to the interior design in place – you should be able to do it with the push of a button.

“Another tip is to build good relationships with the property owners and shopping malls, so they get in touch with you when they have a place or location to offer. To do all the scouting yourself is very time consuming. Simply put, if you’re fast-footed and have your processes in place, you will come a long way.” 

Didrikson uses Sitoo POS and Unified Commerce Platform to power their pop-ups. The time savings and simplicity this brings, says Fredrik Kron, is invaluable.  

“Time is the biggest challenge with pop-up stores as it goes so quickly,” he adds. “We want each store to convey a good, positive feeling and experience to our customers. However, it’s a challenge to build a store that feels attractive in such a short time. That’s why we need a technology partner we can trust and a point of sale system that works quickly as well as being easy for our store associates to operate.”

It’s a sentiment echoed by The Couture Club who chose Sitoo as the POS and Unified Commerce Platform to use in their pop-up stores in premium locations across the UK. The Couture Club’s pop-up strategy helps expose the brand to new markets and, through partnering with Sitoo, they are able to easily add new customers to their loyalty club. Not only does this strategy help drive sales and increase brand awareness, it builds customer loyalty and increases retention.

In Summary

When they’re done well, pop-up stores can be low-cost, low-risk initiatives that have the potential to have a huge impact on your brand and business.

They give you the chance to experiment, try new locations, interact directly with your customers, explore collaborations, gain more traction in existing markets and generate buzz and excitement around your brand.

With the right tech, you can set up a store in a matter of days – if not sooner. 

Pop-ups can form an integral part of your retail strategy and help springboard your business to long term success.

Want to learn more about how easy it is to run a pop-up store with Sitoo? Then we’d love to talk to you.

Let’s talk pop-ups

Matthew Nudie
CX,

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